Archives Collection

WARDLOW, GAYLE DEAN                                               94-048

Physical description:

47 audio tapes (TTA 0182A/UU)




This material copyrighted by Gayle Dean Wardlow, 2015.


Wardlow lent the original tape-recorded interviews to the Center for copying.  Former Center audio specialist Bruce Nemerov made the tape copies.  Current Center audio specialist Martin Fisher made the digital copies.  Historian Tyler DeWayne Moore authored the interview logs and descriptions.

Biographical sketch:

Gayle Dean Wardlow conducted some of the earliest interviews and gathered much of the evidence that exists about early blues musicians and their music.  He is a record collector and has published numerous articles on the blues.  Wardlow co-authored the book King of the Delta Blues: The Life and Music of Charlie Patton with Stephen Calt and later published Chasin’ That Devil Music: Searching for the Blues, which contained expanded versions of his earlier articles.

Scope and content:

The interviews were recorded in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and North Carolina between 1967 and 1969. One of the primary informants is blues musician Hayes McMullan, whose tapes include music as well as questions and answers. Most of the music occurs on the first seven tapes, primarily by McMullan, with a few by Willie Young, and Willie Moore, and includes the pieces: "Delta Walk,""New Way of Spelling Memphis, Tennessee,""Gonna Get a Woman" (aka "Sunday Woman"), "Goin' Where Chilly Winds Don't Blow,""Spoonful Blues,""Kansas City Blues,""Born in the Delta,""Roll and Tumble,""Leave Here Walkin',""Hurry Sundown,""Back Water Blues,""Fast Old Train,""Pony Blues,""Spanish Fandango,""Every Day Seems Like Murder Here,""Spider,""Who Gonna Be Your Baby,""Going to Move to Kansas City,""Bo Weavil Blues,""Ain't Gonna Rain No Mo,""Frankie and Albert,""No Trifling Kid,""Pearl Lee,""TB is Killing Me,""Baby's Gone,""Banty Rooster Blues,""Tallahatchie Bound,""Mean Old Blues,""Stack-A-Lee,""One More Drink,""Dirt Road Blues,""If I Could Hear My Mother Pray,""On the Battlefield,""I Heard of a City Called Heaven,""Gone Home,""Let Him Come In,""What a Time,""What You Gonna Do When Death Comes Creeping,""If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again." [NOTE: These first eight tapes are only accessible in the Center for Popular Music Reading Room and are not online.]

Wardlow also interviewed other blues musicians, their family members, and acquaintances, like Willie and Elizabeth Moore, Willie Young, Reverend Rice, Lilly Hester and Roberta Jameson (sisters of Son Sims), Tommy Lee, Henry Austin, Roberta Hagan Allums (wife of Joe Holmes), Sammy Watkins, Fred Gordon, Ishmon Bracey, Booker T. Miller, Nathan "Dick" Banks, Jack Cooper, Chester House, John Willis, Kin Abram, Ben Curry, Ledell Johnson, various acquaintances of Tommy Johnson (not all identified), Jessie Hills, Sam Williams, Marie Fields, Joe Reynolds, Rosalie Harris (friend of Blind Joe Reynolds), Reynolds Sheppard (Uncle of Blind Joe Reynolds), and Gress Barnett.

Wardlow also interviewed some early record company talent scouts, including H.C. Speir, Polk Brockman, and Harry Charles. There is one interview with and several audio letters to Stephen Calt.

To access the audio logs and digitzed audio files, scroll down to the interview listings and left-click one of the entries. Download the audio log (in Adobe Acrobat pdf format), read the descriptions, and click on the text to hear selected audio clips. All of the interviews are available online in 128 kbps mp3 format. For high quality audio versions of the interviews, please contact the Center for Popular Music.


Hayes McMullan Interview 1

Hayes McMullan Interview 2

Hayes McMullan Interview 3

Hayes McMullan Interview 4

Hayes McMullan Interview 5

Hayes McMullan Interview 6

Hayes McMullan Interview 7

Hayes McMullan Interview 8

Hayes McMullan Interview 9

Hayes McMullan Interview 10

Gress Barnett Interview 1

Gress Barnett Interview 2

H.C. Speir Interview 1

H.C. Speir Interview 2

H.C. Speir Interview 3

Albert Schultz Interview

P.C. Brockman Interview

Harry Charles Interview 1

Harry Charles Interview 2

Rev. D.C. Rice Record

Lilly Hester and Roberta Jamison Interview

Tommy Lee and Robert Gildart Interview

Henry Austin Interview

Willie & Elizabeth Moore Interview 1

Willie & Elizabeth Moore Interview 2

Willie & Elizabeth Moore Interview 3

Willie & Elizabeth Moore Interview 4

Willie & Elizabeth Moore Interview 5

Willie & Elizabeth Moore Interview 6

Willie & Elizabeth Moore Interview 7

Willie & Elizabeth Moore Interview 8

Willie & Elizabeth Moore Interview 9 + Wardlow Notes and Hayes McMullan

Lula Mae Steps and Frank Howard Interview

Roberta Allums Hagan Interview

Sammy Watkins, Fred Morgan, and Ishmon Bracey Interview

Ishmon Bracey and Joe Calicott Interview

Ishmon Bracey + Wardlow Notes

Booker Miller Interview 1

Booker Miller Interview 2

Booker Miller Interview 3

Booker Miller Interview 4

Ledell Johnson Interview

Jesse Hills, Sam Williams, and Marie Boseman Fields

Niece of "Blind" Joe Reynolds, Rosalie Harris, and Lulabelle Johnson Interviews

Uncle of "Blind" Joe Reynolds, Henry and Mary Millage, and others

Jack Brown - Store Owner in Monroe, Louisiana

Nathan "Dick" Bankston Interview

Jack Cooper Interview

Percy Huff and Chester House Interview + Wardlow notes

John Willis Interview

King Abram, John Willis, and Elson Davis Interview


Manuscript and print collections are filed by accession number with other manuscript groups. Audiovisual materials are filed first by format, then by tape number, in the audiovisual archives.

Related materials:

Wardlow also lent for copying an interview with Dave Jasen (94-040) and some instantaneous acetate discs of the Mid-Carolina Male Chorus (94-047).

©Gayle Dean Wardlow, 2015.

Created February 13, 2001 LAP

Updated July 15, 2010 TDM.